Table Mountain, the mountainous gem of South Africa, has to be one of the most photographed peaks and certainly one of the biggest attractions in Cape Town. It is actually one of three major peaks that dominate the Cape Town skyline, the other two being Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak. Table Mountain towers above the city and a cable car only a few kilometers away takes hundreds, if not thousands of visitors, to the top every day. It is a stunning site from the city and from the water and the view from the top is as stunning.
There are tens of hiking routes and hundreds of climbing routes. Given the multitude of options, safety concerns on and around some of the routes, we chose to find a guide and go with their recommendation. Our route did not disappoint. We chose the Porcupine Ridge route along the 12 Apostles ridge which climbs the back side (out of the sun and away from the crowds). It was a four hour climb with some solid elevation gain and more than a few good scrambling or bouldering moves.
We left early with Mike from Hike Table Mountain. Mike has climbed this route more than a hundred times and was extremely knowledgeable about the flora, fauna and key handholds. The mountain and the trail’s proximity to the town is incredible. Our hike started in the tony suburb of Camp’s Bay where we simply parked in front of some nice homes and headed up on an old pipeline route.
After 30 minutes of rough fire road, the climbing and scrambling began, and we continue for a couple hours straight up through the ravine. As we climbed, the sun progressed around the mountain, illuminating Camp’s bay and the beachs below.
Up up and away
The climb was serene- quiet, shaded, and peaceful. The orange-breasted sunbirds, redwing starlings, and the ridgeway ramblers were out in numbers, and their calls got louder as we approached their nests. Traces of porcupines digging for bugs scattered the trails in spots. Flowers were blooming everywhere, including the national flower – the stunning protea.
As we approached the Table, the terrain flattened out. On top of the ridge, you can see remnants of the old reservoir that supplied fresh water to Cape Town in the 1800’s. Now, it is an unofficial beach for backpackers.
We finally topped out on the summit of the Table where there were astonishing views of the city and surrounding bays.
Finally, a 10 minute cable ride brought us back to the lowlands.
One down, two to go. Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head up next.